Preview: Georgia Tech at Notre Dame
By Denis Brown
A new season brings many question marks for any team. Notre Dame’s biggest question mark regards the man taking snaps from center. Brady Quinn, who set numerous school records while playing in South Bend, is now in the NFL and the Fighting Irish Head Coach Charlie Weis has been keeping silent most of this week, as media members try to get the scoop on who the new quarterback is going to be.
Georgia Tech Head Coach Chan Gailey got a head start on replacing his former quarterback Reggie Ball. Taylor Bennett started the season finale in the Gator Bowl last season, throwing for 326 yards. Bennett has the benefit of playing behind a very experienced offensive line. The Yellow Jackets will only have one new starter on the offensive line. The offense will rely on running back Tashard Choice keeping up his high level of play from last season. Choice led the ACC in rushing yards last year and will be a stabilizing force, due to the loss of wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who was a top pick in last year’s NFL draft.
Notre Dame and Georgia Tech will both have the chance to answer some of these questions when they face each other at 3:30 on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets will have revenge on their mind as the Fighting Irish won last year’s matchup. Georgia Tech had a 10-0 first-half lead on No. 13 Notre Dame but the Irish shut the Ramblin' Wreck offense down in the second half as the Irish escaped with a 14-10 win. Notre Dame cut the deficit to 10-7 just before halftime and took the lead in the 3rd quarter on a Darrius Walker 13-yard run.
For Notre Dame, this game is a must win because business picks up big time after this home game against Georgia Tech. The Fighting Irish will travel to State College, Pa. and Ann Arbor, Mich. to face Penn State and Michigan respectively. The home crowd advantage that South Bend brings should be a big positive for the Irish. Notre Dame holds an 11-2-1 all-time series lead at South Bend against Georgia Tech, including winning the last seven meetings.
Going by last year’s numbers, the big match up will be Notre Dame’s offense against Georgia Tech’s defense. The Irish ranked 16th in the nation in scoring offense, while the Yellow Jackets ranked 27th in the nation in scoring defense. However, perhaps the biggest changes will take place on the opposite sides of the ball. John Bond is now Tech’s offensive coordinator and Corwin Brown takes over as the defensive coordinator for the Irish. It will be interesting to see what new wrinkles each throws into their side of the ball respectively.
Denis Brown is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.